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Fantasy Playoff Weeks: Dance With Who Brought You

 

by NFL/Fantasy Football Analyst Russ Bliss

 

We're thru 13 weeks. At this point in many fantasy leagues, the fantasy playoffs are starting up. 13 weeks of grueling lineup decisions, trade considerations, free agent acquisitions, injuries, suspensions, etc all come down to the next 3 weeks. The most crucial 3 weeks in most fantasy leagues. Win and you advance to the next round. Lose and your season is done

So how should you approach your fantasy playoffs? Do you continue to take chances and play matchups? We saw week 13 that one of our usually reliable fantasy football stud RB's, Rashard Mendenhall had a tough matchup and did not put up very good fantasy points. How do you deal with your stud players who have the tougher matchups now that we're at this critical time?

To me, it's simple. I categorize my roster of players into groups. Each player is categorized as either a stud, reliable, inconsistent, or scrub. After I do this, it becomes a lot easier to choose a starting lineup during the fantasy playoffs.

I play my studs regardless of matchup. I am not going to sit Tom Brady to play Josh Freeman just because Brady has a really tough matchup and Freeman has a really good one. Every year, I will start my best players; the players who more weeks than not are responsible for me being in the playoffs, rather than roll the dice with an inferior player with a better matchup. Does this always work out? No. But I feel better knowing I've started my studs and lost, than I would feel if I sat my studs and lost because I second guessed their standings as being the best players on my team.

We've had 13 weeks to see who the stud players are. 13 weeks to realize that the stud QB's are Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Mike Vick, Tom Brady, Phillip Rivers, and Peyton Manning. Week in and week out these QB's are producing a high amount of fantasy points more often than not. Are they huge every week? No. But I would start any of these QB's over any others the next 3 weeks, barring injury, regardless of matchup. Regardless of whom else I have on my team and what their matchup may be.

We've seen that the best fantasy RB's in 2010 have been Arian Foster, Adrian Peterson, Peyton Hillis, Michael Turner Maurice Jones-Drew, LeSean McCoy, and Rashard Mendenhall. If I have these players, they are not coming out of my starting lineup regardless of matchup. I don't care if LaGarrette Blount, Brandon Jackson, Marshawn Lynch or anyone else I may have has a great matchup. They are not going to start over my stud RB's.

So when do we consider the matchups?

Consider them when you don't have a stud to start at a position. Move onto your reliable players, and determine the best matchup from them. If you don't have enough reliable players to insert into your starting lineup, move onto the inconsistent players. Certainly at that point, you have found your best matchup and best player to insert into your lineup.

And remember, just like the immortals in Highlander, there can be only one. Only one who walks away with the fantasy championship in each league. And sometimes, no matter what you do, no matter if you make all the right lineup decisions, it's not going to be you. Winning in fantasy football is a combination of preparation and luck. By categorizing your players you are doing the best preparation you can do. But it's up to the players to go out and perform at a higher level than whoever your opponent has on his team.